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There are a lot more degrading things you can do than share a moment of pleasure with your partner. But that’s not how everyone views the facial (NSFW).

Much of mainstream heterosexual porn today ends with the money shot, the guy blowing his load over his partner’s face. Inside the private bedroom, no one really knows the pervasiveness of the facial, but that doesn’t negate those who take umbrage at the act.

For a lot of people, the face stands in as the representation of the self. It’s your essence, your identity, how others recognize you. We’re taught to recognize faces, and sometimes when we meet new people it’s their faces that seem familiar. So it’s understandable that some people never want their faces as receptacles for ejaculate.

Facials can imply a lot, and it can go either way. The ubiquity of the act in porn, especially as a closing scene, suggests that sex always ends once the man gets his rocks off. It’s always a man coming on a woman’s face (at least in straight porn); women ejaculating on men’s faces are relegated to squirting fetish videos, deviating from the norm presented in mainstream porn.

Back in August, a blog post on Bitch magazine’s website lambasted the act for its misogynist undertones and for its pornographic origins. Though to be fair, Marquis de Sade can tell you the act has been around a lot longer than porn films.

Anywooo, bondage model/porn performer/switch-but-often-submissive Madison Young chimed in, but her point (NSFW picture) now gets lost in the anti-porn din. Facials are not antithetical to feminist ideals, she says:

This is an intimate sexual play to be fluid bonded. And to me it exhibits not an act of degradation but a deep hunger and lust for your partner that is so great that you want to swallow all of them, including their cum which is a physical manifestation of this persons release of pleasure. Why wouldn’t you want to gobble that up? Why wouldn’t you want to have that closeness with your partner?

What’s often missing in the facial discussion is the possibility that the recipient enjoys receiving their partner’s come. It’s assumed that the recipient gets no kicks from it, though certainly that’s not always the case (either way, fellas, please ask first).

Even if you can’t possibly put yourself up for the act, you have to agree that Young has a point. Sharing your partner’s fluids is a way of accepting them…and accepting all of them. You swap saliva when you make out, you get pussy juice on your face when you go down on her, you swallow his come when you blow him, you finally let him come inside you without a condom. These are all ways of saying “I trust you and I want to experience you.”

When receiving a facial, one can experience one’s partner’s pleasure. You feels his warmth and wetness on your face. And if he promises not to jizz in your eye, you can watch him come at the closest possible level. For some, that visual is extremely stimulating because they know that he’s deriving pleasure from their experience together.

The partners don’t always have degradation at the back of their minds. The receiver wants to please his or her partner, or the giver wants his partner to feel and share in his pleasure.

A facial, however, can be degrading, in the same vein as toe-sucking or salad-tossing or face-sitting or blowjobs or doggystyle or spanking or hair-pulling. You know, things that aren’t really degrading because you trust and care for your partner and want to give them pleasure. It’s only degrading if you think it’s dirty or fucked-up weird, and it doesn’t have to be either of those.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at christine@sfappeal.com.

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  • Xenu

    The fact that it’s degrading is, of course, what makes it sexual for the guy involved.

    But of course, feminists will throw a hissy fit if you discuss a man’s sexual needs.

  • generic

    A fact is a verifiable truth. It is not verifiably true that facials are degrading in all cases.

  • Brock Keeling

    Whether giving or receiving, facials are not only fantastic, but sometimes even necessary.